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Democracy Day: 29 Years Ago…

By Kolawole Judah

29 years ago, on this day, hundred of thousands of Nigerians took to the street, rejoicing, after successfully electing their ‘Man of the Century’ as the President. The tale of how 1993 election has been the freest and fairest democratic election in the history of Nigeria has been spread throughout the country till date. It will perhaps be spread to generations to come. The Man of the Century had promised the restoration of good governance to Nigeria but unfortunately, he died mysteriously. It is generally believed that he was poisoned and sent to his early grace, shattering the high hopes of hundred of thousands of Nigerians. Perhaps, if he had not been assassinated, Nigeria would have been competing with the top nations of the world by now. Like the Man of the Century, his successors promised good governance to Nigerians but Nigerians kept getting disappointed over the non fulfillment of their promises. One tend to wonder if the promise of good governance is an attempt to win the heart of Nigerians like the Man of the Century did or it’s just a general fallacy all aspirants employ in order to win people heart. Sadly, we can’t tell of the later since the initiator was unjustly detained and met his death in the process.

The 1993 election has been considered by many Nigerians as the freest and fairest election since inception of democracy in Nigeria. The elections after 1993’s are considered rigged, manipulated and full of godfatherism. Governance considered full of corruption, nepotism, tribalism, tyrant, injustice and all vice relatable to governance. Those in governance are considered the cause of the country’s problem since the inception of democracy. Nigerians keep changing government through election with the hope of electing a Moses that will lead Nigeria to the promise land in the space of 8 years. When the elected Moses turns out to be a pharaoh, they pray to God to send the 10th plague to visit the pharaohs. But who can blame them? No one knows the true intention of a man, the good governance fallacy works like a charm.

Reminiscing back to my secondary school days brought back some enlightenment. I was surprised when my government teacher defined democracy as ‘the government of the people, by the people and for the people’. I had thought it was too simple a definition for a concept of governance. Many Nigerians today see no reason to celebrate democracy and independence because they feel they have been failed. However, the sad reality is that we failed ourselves more than the government failed us. Before justifying this claim, it is essential I define what government is in relation to democracy. Democracy is a system of government in which the power is centered to the people; they rule and decide. A government under a democratic system operates to serve and listen to the people. Hence, to be recognized as democratic nation, the Moses and pharaohs need to keep bending to the will of the people. 

Sadly, the democracy the Moses and pharaohs practice is a reflection of the society in which they come from. An aspirant will only attempt to rig an election when all he needs to do is to pay some thugs to do this dirty works. With a fee as low as five thousand naira, thousands of voters are bought every time. But are the Moses and pharaohs the only parties involved? Talking about governance, the people ruin the country more than the elected Moses and pharaohs. A change in weather will make bus drivers hike their fare twofold. Tribalism is given priority over competency in many sectors. Corruption runs deep in many Nigerians. Political positions are considered as national cakes, it has to reach everybody. With a little envelope, the media house will broadcast anything. Tertiary institutions students’ unions? They are worse. Traders with surplus goods in store will hike their existing surplus goods at the news that the goods has increased. Filling stations become oil gods whenever there is inflation with crude oil. Ethics and morality keep depreciating just like the country’s currency. Yet, the Moses and pharaohs are to blamed alone.

To conclude this rather ‘less interesting’ piece, this is no justification for the actions of pharaohs. Rather, a call to action to the Israelites looking for the Moses to lead them to the promised land. Change and good governance cannot be achieved by an elected Moses. Change starts with every individual. Complains and prayers will not go far if the people are not willing to change. The government is no longer for the people because the people sold their birthright just as Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of soup. To honour the Man of the Century and bring back good governance to Nigeria, both the government and the governed needs to work together. Good governance and true democracy cannot be achieved by one party. 

1 comment:

  1. This is an interesting piece and your use of words is quite impressive to look forward to more write-ups like this. Thumbs up👍.